LETTER TO THE POST & COURIER
CONCERNING THE SPURIOUS CLAIM OF A SETTLEMENT OFFER
MADE TO THE DIOCESE OF SOUTH CAROLINA BY TEC
Letter to the Post & Courier concerning the spurious claim of a settlement offer made to the Diocese of Carolina by The Episcopal Church
The recent coverage of the South Carolina Supreme Court decision in this paper this week on two occasions was not accurate.
On Wednesday your story (http://www.postandcourier.com/news/state-supreme-court-rules-the-episcopal-church-can-reclaim-properties/article_260f5402-778c-11e7-8710-5facadfd7bca.html) incorrectly stated that the Diocese of South Carolina (DioofSC) was offered a settlement by the new Episcopal Church diocese in South Carolina (TECSC) two years ago. No SUCH LEGITIMATE OFFER WAS EVER MADE.
What was claimed to be an “offer” was written by TECSC counsel but it was not signed by TEC's counsel (whose client holds the alleged interest in property). DioofSC Counsel asked that it be done and stated we would then consider it. That did not happen, so it was never considered to be an offer authorized by TEC.
Interested readers may find a detailed chronology of what happened here (http://diosc.com/sys/news-events/latest-news/663-churches-reject-spurious-offer-to-settle). Please note: “A good faith offer…[has never] been properly presented”.
As a result of the distorted Wednesday story, a member of DioofSC staff wrote to you explaining the major errors and mistakes, as well as our understanding of what occurred. Now a second story has appeared (http://www.postandcourier.com/features/episcopal-church-schism-enters-new-chapter-of-uncertainty-after-court/article_8e66cd6e-793f-11e7-9ed3-abe9de3fe36e.html) repeating the mistake, even though you were alerted to an entirely different narrative about what transpired 2 years ago.
While we realize that a complex and mixed ruling which contained five separate and strongly held opinions is not easily summarized, we expect fairness and accuracy. That it occurred twice in one week, the second time after a specific correction was offered to you, is especially disappointing.
Please write a follow-up article to correct both stories. Ask TECSC Counsel to produce the letter from the DioofSC counsel requesting a proper offer. Ask why TECSC never responded. Also please inquire why TECSC is continuing to insist on the false narrative of events.
This is a family dispute, and while we pray in this difficult time for both sides, honesty requires that the record and facts be set straight.
The Rev. Dr. Kendall S. Harmon
Canon Theologian, Diocese of South Carolina
The Rt. Rev. C. FitzSimons Allison
Bishop of South Carolina, ret.